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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Local entrepreneur fulfills dream of reopening historic Madison recording studio

Beginning this month, local audio technician Brian Liston will add sound studio owner to his vibrant resume, which already includes world traveler and sound supervisor for a nationally-syndicated television series.

Liston plans to reopen the recording studio located at 1254 E. Washington St., under the moniker Clutch Sound, by October to fulfill a three-year old dream of his. The original studio closed as Smart Studios in March 2010.

The building is not unaccustomed to having talented and acclaimed artists take to its airwaves, according to Liston, who said he is excited to carry the studio’s impressive history into the future.

First opened in 1983 by Butch Vig and Steve Marker, Smart Studios accommodated artists such as Nirvana, The Smashing Pumpkins, Death Cab for Cutie and Tegan and Sara, among others, throughout the 1990’s and 2000’s.

Speaking to Vig Tuesday, Liston said the former owner relayed his happiness that the space will not be converted for a different use, such as a restaurant, and told Liston to “keep that joint rockin’.”

The studio is already booked through September, and Liston is currently using his “new digs” to edit audio for NBC’s truck-racing show “The Off-Road Championship,” for which he works as a sound supervisor.

For Liston, moving his office from his home to an external location is “certainly a nice step up,” the entrepreneur said, who named the studio Clutch in reference to the “motorsport world,” where he chooses to spend his time both professionally and recreationally.

Primarily, Liston said he will cater his studio to corporate and advertising clients. But, he is hoping to provide independent film and music producers access to space and equipment during non-business hours.

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